Link

GRAND PARENT FRAME

* this is NOT a food post ….

A high proportion of my readers, like me, are expats here in Dubai and are keeping in touch with our families back home as and when we can.  Of course we visit home from time to time, and we are often hosts to visitors from back home as they stay here during vacations and visits too, but for a large proportion of the time family members are in different countries and different time zones.

I don’t have children, but have nephews and nieces both here in Dubai and at home in the UK and as they get older we find different ways out keeping in touch.  They are now old enough to be trusted with phones so mostly we text or BBM, but when they were younger the task of keeping in touch and sharing pictures etc fell to my somewhat busy sister and sister in law, something they did when they could and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy job keeping people up to date and sharing magic moments.

I was recently approached by a PR company and asked if I would share something with readers in return for receiving the product. It’s not my usual policy to do this, so this is a first and I am doing it because I think what they have is relevant to my readers and something fun and which can add some value to the audience they are targeting.

The product is a grandparent frame which allows parents to share images from their phone with the grandparents, using an app on their phone which transfers a photo/video from the parents mobile phone to the grandparents digital frame (of course it could be anyone else you gave the frame too) – it’s a really clever app and use of technology which is great.  Click the link for more details.

As I don’t have children I am gifting this frame to a twitter friend who has twins under two, lives in the UAE and has grandparents in the UK – I am sure it will make a different to the way they keep in touch and share magic moments.  Will keep you posted on how it goes.

 

 

Banoffee Pie !!

This post has been a long time coming ….. and I’ve promised to post my recipe for Banoffee for a while.  But first, there is a story to my Banoffee which I will share with you now.

When I first joined twitter, ages ago it seems, my intention was to tweet anonymously have some fun and never reveal who I was.  @BettybooDubai my twitter handle was my alter ego, and twitter was somewhere where I could chat and make virtual friends across the world, particularly at a time when I was recovering from surgery and was not only quite housebound but also awake at all sorts of odd hours.  I didn’t really ‘get’ twitter when I signed up, why on earth would strangers message me and I message strangers? I couldn’t figure it out and didn’t see why anyone would use twitter and what it was for, but anyway, bored and housebound I signed up after reading a post in Time Out Dubai which mentioned how strong twitter was in Dubai and I started following the top 10 twitterati accounts in Dubai at that time.    Soon I made virtual friends and became au fait with passing the time of day and night with people across Dubai and indeed across the world.  All well and good, it was occupying my time, I was making virtual new friends and twitter was relieving my boredom.

So back to the Banoffee story ….. late one night I saw a tweet from one of my virtual twitter friends @DubaiNameShame who tweeted that he was fancying Banoffee Pie, his tweet started me drooling, now he’d mentioned it, I was fancying it too, I hadn’t had Banoffee Pie in a long time.  So I tweeted to ask where he bought it and he said he hadn’t found it.  Sigh !! Next morning, spurred into action I decided to make my own Banoffee and tweeted DubaiNameShame (now DubaiNews&Views) to tell him – teasing him mercifully throughout the day as I kept tweeting pictures to show progress.  By the end of the day I had made way too much banoffee and so agreed to meet DubaiNameShame who was also an anonymous twitter person the next morning to handover some pie.  So we met in a coffee shop and exchanged the goods so to speak and later that day he tweeted how he enjoyed the pie.  People saw the tweet and the next week I found myself in the coffee shop again, with another two more anonymous twitter people sharing Banoffee Pie.  The rest as they say is history.  I regularly made and shared Banoffee and soon became ‘famous’ for my Banoffee Pie – taking it to events, the gym, people’s houses and even to share with a the lovely Chef David Miras and his team at Al Maha.  At one stage I was even going to go into the Banoffee business and got a fantastic anonymous review by the team at Dubai Confidential.

And so as they say “the rest is history” and the secret is out, no longer mine to keep secret,  I’m going to share the recipe for my Banoffee Pie so you can treat yourself to a rich, indulgent yet wonderful treat, but of course I may be a bit biased.  I present to you : Banoffee Pie.

So what is Banoffee – well it’s biscuit and butter base topped with indulgent soft rich caramel toffee, a layer of bananas, plenty of whipped cream and then topped off with some flaked chocolate.

Banoffee Pie : Serves 8

Ingredients : 

  • 1 Can (397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 250 digestive Biscuits
  • 100 g Butter (I use salted, but you are supposed to use unsalted)
  • 4 Ripe Bananas (but not too ripe)
  • 300 ml Whipping Cream (also called Heavy Cream)
  • 2 Cadbury Flake bars (or a finely grated chocolate bar)

Method :

  1. To make the caramel/soft toffee. Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a saucepan of hot water, making sure it is totally covered in water. Bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat so the water is simmering (small bubbles in the water). Simmer the can of condensed milk for 3 hours. You will need to top the saucepan up with more hot water from time to time.  TIP : if you have a slow cooker you can do this in the slow cooker – cover the can with hot water from the kettle, and leave in the slow cooker turned to high for 3 hours)
  2. After 3 hours, remove the can (go careful it will be extremely hot) and leave the can of soft toffee/caramel to cool  in the can for an hour or so or even until it is warm.  You can leave overnight if you wish to do so, it will just be a bit harder to spread.
  3. Meanwhile Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs either by place the biscuits and bashing with a rolling-pin (great for stress relieving) or by blitzing in a food processor. Tip : Personally I don’t mind a few odd larger pieces of biscuits in the base, but if you do keep on bashing until they are all crushed.
  4. Melt the butter either in the microwave (do it in 15 second intervals so it doesn’t burn) or slowly in a saucepan on the hob and add to the biscuit crumbs, stirring the butter through so that it covers all the biscuit crumbs
  5. Line the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin with the biscuit crumbs and butter mixture, pat down so they are firm and place in the fridge to cool for an hour or so.
  6. Spoon the caramel from the can over the biscuit crumbs, use a palate knife or back of a spoon to spread evenly over the biscuit base and put back into the fridge
  7. Before serving, slice the bananas and place them over the caramel – 2-3 deep is ideal.
  8. Using a hand mixer or your food processor, whip the cream until it forms very stiff peaks
  9. Spoon the cream over the bananas or put into a piping bag and pipe over the bananas if you preferred a more polished finish
  10. Top with crumbled Flake bars or grated chocolate of your choice
  11. Put back into the fridge to set for an hour or so, or even overnight if you want
  12. Remove carefully from the cake tin and serve sliced

 

 

TIPS : This makes 1 x 20 cm Banoffee Pie which is perfect for slicing and sharing, you can also divide the mixture and make individual Banoffee Pies if you prefer. Serve in glasses for a dinner parties or even plastic cups for picnics etc depending on how you want to serve.  Just remember as the recipe has fresh cream it needs to be chilled until served.

This will keep in the fridge for approx 2 days after making.

Once you’ve made Banoffee once using the above recipe, feel free to Freestyle how you wish – for instance you could use different biscuits, or even a pastry base, you could caramelise the bananas lightly in sugar before adding, you could add flavouring to the cream, fresh vanilla for instance.  Baileys works well for Christmas as does Amarula if you want an indulgent adult pudding. Toppings can range from grated chocolate, your favourite mini chocolate bar, smashed maltesers etc – make it your own and enjoy.

Finally, if you love this recipe or banoffee then please tweet me a picture (@Bettyboodubai) or Share on Instagram (@CoffeeCakesAndRunning) when you’ve made yours,  Be Inspired, Make It Yours and Sharing is Caring :-)

PS : Banoffee Pie – the first Banoffee Pie was made in 1972 at The Hungry Monk restaurant in East Sussex (UK).  Originally spelt Banoffi, but now spelled as Banoffee – apparently when first made the restaurant says the dish was so popular that they “couldn’t take it off the menu” – I have to agree, this is something I will never stop making as it’s a dessert that makes me happy.

Mixology Class at La Porte des Indes

Have you ever wondered about the art of Mixology and the history of Cocktails and Mocktails?  Last week a small group off foodies and fashionistas were invited to a mixology masterclass with expert mixologist Marko Aleksic at La Porte des Indes at The Address Hotel Dubai Mall.  La Porte des Indes first caught my eye a few weeks ago at Taste of Dubai, without a doubt I loved the items on the menu and fell in love with the pepper crab which was divine and transported me back to a holiday in Pondicherry not too long ago.

Dropping the car off at the valet was a sensible decision (note to self – there are two The Address Hotels in the locality, both have very friendly valet staff, particularly when they park the car and then you realise you are at the wrong The Address!!) as we were in for some serious education and tasting which most definitely necessitated the use of a taxi to get home that night.

Marko our mixologist for the evening was extremely knowledgeable, explaining the history of cocktails and cocktails to us as well as the art of mixology.  With a passion for making interesting, tasty and great looking cocktails we knew we were in for an interesting evening and not only did we see the drinks being made we were also invited behind the bar to mix up our own drinks too.  It’s not as easy as it seems as there is a lot to remember both in terms of techniques to be used, but also why you are doing certain things in a certain way – for instance when shaking a drink always keep the glass part of the shaker closest to the bar tender so if the shaker comes apart the drink will drench the bar tender and not the customer.  Thankfully we all managed to make our drinks without getting drenched !!

Marko was extremely generous not only in sharing his knowledge with us, but also sharing his cocktail recipes too, so if you are tempted to get shaking at home here’s how to do it : Enjoy

Sky Light  

Especially made to celebrate the Festival of Lights this was a visually stunning drink, which I got the chance to make as the evening wore on and it’s not as easy to make as it would appear.

  • Assessories : Cataliina Glass & Ice cubes
  • Ingredients 
  • 15ml Russian Standard Vodka
  • 15ml Bacardi Silver
  • 15ml Blue Curacao
  • Orange Juice
  • Spice Sugar (dash)
  • Lime Juice
  • Grendine

Method

Chill the glass by filling with ice-cubes.  Meanwhile Muddle the 3/4 Lime Wedges in a cocktail Shaker, add a dash of Spice Syrup (a LPDI secret blend), add some fresh orange juice (approx 45 mlx) and then Shake until mixed and strain over the 3-4 ice-cubes in the glass.

Carefully drizzle some Grenadine syrup on top of the ice-cubes and it will slowly drop down into the glass

Put the Vodka, Blue Curacao and Rum in a shaker with ice and shake vigoursly.  Strain slowly over a bar spoon so that it sits on top of the orange juice.

Slowly add a straw down the side of the glass and decorate with a Physillis berry.

And below is the picture of the one that I made :-)

Espresso Dream
  • Assessories - Martini Glass
  • 30 ml Russian Standard Original
  • 10 ml Patrón XO Café
  • 10 ml Baileys Irish Cream
  • 10 ml Illyquore
  • 20 ml Esspresso
  • Cream Half & Half
 Put all of the ingredients (except the Cream) into a shaker and shake well to mix.  Our into a Martini glass and slowly pour some Half and Half cream on the top.  Serve as is.
 Chocolat Symphony
  • Assessories : Martini Glass
  • 40 ml Absolut Kurant
  • 10 ml Mozart Black Chocolate
  • 10 ml Mozart White Chocolate
  • 10 ml Amarula
  • 10 ml Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • 10 ml Cream Half & Half

 Berryoska
  •  Assessories : Old Fashioned Glass and Crushed Ice
  • 60 ml Russian Standard Original
  • 10 ml Agave Nectar
  • 4 Lime Wedges
  • 4 Blueberries
  • 2 Blackberries
  • 2 bar spoons Brown Cane Sugar
Muddle 3 of the Lime wedges, with the Blueberries, Blackberries, Agave Nectar & brown sugar
Add crushed ice & vodka  
Garnish with 3 Blueberries threaded over a wooden skewer/cocktail stick if you have and a generous wedge of lime, serve with two short straws 
For added flair you can lightly caramelise some brown cane sugar on a bar spoon if you have some – don’t let it burn.
 

 
La Porte des Indes serves Gallic influenced dishes representative of Pondicherry, a former French colony in India. Executive Chef Mehernosh Mody’s menu is influenced by his stay in Pondicherry where he learned about the local cuisine from French-Creole communities and from French, Tamil and Creole families. 
 
Many thanks to Marko Aleksic our extremely talented (and photogenic) mixologist for the evening.  His knowledge of all things cocktail related was great, not only that, he was extremely patient with us whilst teaching us to make cocktails and a fun host too.  Marko was not able to produce fantastic cocktails from the menu, but also great at showing how you blend and balance a cocktail when given a specific request for instance a theme with raspberries and vodka, which requires skill and expert knowledge of cocktails to produce a well balanced flavourful cocktail.
 
Here’s some more great pictures of our evening.  Cheers !!
La Porte des Indes : The Address Dubai Mall

 

BiCE Mare meets Enrico Bartolini

Last week I was invited to attend dinner at BiCE Mare in Souk Al Bahar where Two Mitchelin-Starred Chef Enrico Bartolini * was serving up a 5 course dinner to members of the press, invited diners and a few foodies like me.  The dinner was part of an official launch of BiCE Mare working with Terre del Sole, a 60 year old organisation in Italy who work with 200,000 small olive producers to produce quality Italian virgin olive oils.

Starting off with a deceptively light looking olive oil to dip our bread in, but which delivered a peppery kick in the back of your throat which was pleasantly warming, we were then treated to a five course menu consisting of :

*************************************************************
MENU

warm potato foam with zabaglione & salmon eggs
asparagus cooked in rich butter thyme, served with anchovies & capers
homemade pasta with caciucco sauce , lime zest & grilled octopus
10-hour slow cooked veal cheek with celeriac cream sauce.
crunchy herb biscuits, caramelized banana and bronte pistachio ice-cream

*************************************************************

It’s easy to see how the first 4 courses could be cooked whilst incorporating this rich virgin olive oil, but the fifth course, an indulgent and decadent pudding was new to me.  Sure I’ve used oil in cakes sometimes instead of butter, but the combination of flavours, textures and tastes delivered in this dessert were beautifully married together delivering both a visual delight to the eyes and a sensation of tastes and textures to my mouth.  For me, the dessert course was the highlight of my night although I also loved the asparagus course paired together with anchovies and capers this is a dish I would order again just with a side of bread some more melted butter (I know ! – but seriously it was good and somewhat moreish)

After the event Chef shared the recipe for dessert with me. If you are making from home tread carefully as there are a few processes which I think need further explanation and research before you start cooking.

The special dinner that we sampled is available be 24 March – 30 April at 550 AED per person

* Chef Enrico is the youngest Italian chef to receive a Michelin star, receiving his first one at the age of 30.

BISCOTTO ALL’OLIO E PISTACCHI DI BRONTE

For the biscuit oil and herbs
250g whole eggs
500g caster sugar
500gr flour 00
35gr baking powder
500g double cream
350ml extra virgin olive oil
5g salt
Lemon zest
200 grams of spinach puree

Method:

Whip eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, then add the flour and baking powder , salt, lemon zest and spinach puree. Mix all ingredients together and add the cream whipped to ribbon stage and at the and slowly add the olive oil. Let it sit overnight and bake at 170 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

For the pistachio ice cream :

480ml whole milk
600ml water
440gr of invert sugar
118gr milk powder
40g egg yolk
120g caster sugar
200g pistachio paste

Mix the water with milk ( fresh and powdered ) sugar and pistachio paste .
Boil the mixture and pour onto the egg yolks. Bring to 85 °, cool and then break it down to -20 .
At the time of service use the paco jet ( Ice cream Machine )
 
For the hazelnuts Semifreddo
Ingredients:
8 whole eggs, separate the whites and the yolk
400gr icing sugar
2.6lt half whipped cream
Caramelized hazelnuts 400gr
Crushed amaretti biscuits 350gr
 
For the caramelized hazelnuts:
500ml water
500gr sugar caster
300gr toasted hazelnuts
 
Prepare your caramel with water and sugar then add the hazelnuts. Leave to cool down and crush finely.
In a bowl add egg yolk, and ¼ of the icing sugar then add the semi whipped cream.
Then add the crushed amaretti biscuits and the crushed caramelized hazelnuts. Incorporate the egg white ( previously whipped with the rest of the icing sugar)
Pour into the stamps some of the crushed caramelized hazelnuts and add the compost on the top. Leave in the fridge ovenight.
 
To finish :
Cut the biscuit in a rectangle shape, lay on top two sticks of caramelized banana , a scoop of pistachio ice cream , hazelnuts semifreddo and  caramelized almonds  .

 

 

Wear Sunscreen ! – but not always – A BCC and Vitamin D story

Here we are, living the dream, however you define that, in a most beautiful sunny Dubai.  At the moment the weather is just perfect, typically 26/27C in the day and 21/22C in the evening.  Getting out and enjoying the sun is a pleasure and one that, if you take a quick glance at my twitter and instagram feed, we are doing in some shape or form.  Desperately enjoying the great weather before it turns too humid and way too hot to do anything other than hurriedly move between the air conditioned car to the air conditioned office, mall or apartment.  Sounds great huh? and yes, if you are reading this from the UK or somewhere even colder or rainier it is and I love it and apart from being a full time fully sponsored world traveler (unlikely to happen – wake up !)  I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be.

But we have a few issues here both of which have recently affected me recently and which I will put out there for you as alternative ‘Food for Thought’.  What am I talking about ? Well – Vitamin D Deficiency and Skin Cancer.  Don’t get too concerned, both are treatable and have been and I’m ok.  Much as I love sharing stories of food, cooking and restaurants with you, I also, from time to time, share more serious issues regarding health, fitness, weight loss etc and so here I am again sharing something a little personal but very real.

It all started with a tiny, innocent little waxy spot/pimple on the side of my nose which wasn’t getting any bigger, but equally wasn’t going away.  Thinking it was just a build up of sebum or something I left this little spot for a while (couple of months) before thinking that I should just google it and see if it was anything to worry about.  Be warned : Google search when you are looking for medical things can be your friend and/or foe so I always try and carefully do my searching and try not to get too alarmed by the randomness of some of the results that come up.  Eventually after a bit of trawling, and looking a various photo images it seemed to me that I had something which look similar to the photos I’d seen of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC).

BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars. Usually caused by a combination of cumulative UV exposure and intense, occasional UV exposure, BCC can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow, but almost never spreads (metastasizes) beyond the original tumor site. Only in exceedingly rare cases can BCC spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. (From SkinCancer.Org) 

A quick trip to a Dermatologist confirmed my suspicion and a week later I was back at the surgery having the BCC removed.  My BCC was very small – literally only 1mm in diameter which meant that it could be treated by using dry ice which burned away the skin around and below the BCC and in just over 2 weeks it had healed and was declared fully treated.  The treatment was a little uncomfortable at the time but nothing unbearable, essentially the dermatologist dipped a cotton swob in liquid nitrogen and then held it against the spot for a little while, I could feel extreme cold and initially I had what looked like a small blister which then burst and started to heal after a few days. I was able to disguise the injury with makeup though it wasn’t too large to conceal.

Should you be worried ? Well yes and no – actually I’d say be vigilant.  Living in the sun, puts us all at risk, being fair skinned exacerbates the risk as does a family history of skin cancer. However, BCC is the most common skin cancer, which rarely spreads or kills, but it can invade surrounding tissue and cause disfigurement.  This is one of those things when getting it treated earlier is better than later.  Just a few weeks after my minor treatment I saw this article on Apprentice Winner Michelle Dewberry who was also treated for BCC, but hers was much bigger and deeper than mine.  I don’t want to scare you with images on this page, but if you are interested then click Here to see the full article.

So the advice is simple – be vigilant – watch your skin and seek advice for unusual changes. Wear sunscreen – at least SPF 30 – this applies to the guys as well as the ladies, and consider wearing a sunhat to shade your face from the rays.

You can find some more information about BCC on the Women’s Health Magazine page  here >> LINK or by visiting the Skin Cancer Foundation here >> LINK

So here I am, on one hand telling you to cover up and wear sunscreen, and then on the other hand – I find myself telling you that I am also Vitamin D Deficient, and one of the main reasons for this is not spending enough time in the sun to allow my body to make Vitamin D.  Ahh it’s a tricky balance this living in the sun.

Every year, I am subjected to some quite rigorous blood tests to check if I have enough vitamins and minerals following my weight loss surgery, it’s one of the annual checks which are fairly mandatory.  This is now the 3rd year that I’ve been significantly deficient (I score 11 ng/ML – the idea range is 25-80 ng/ML) and I suspect I’ve been deficient anyway as a lot of the population are Vitamin D deficient. A recent article by the Dubai Health Authority >> here explains how a large amount of people are deficient in the Middle East and Africa.

Why does it matter ? Well Vitamin D is responsible for good health, growth and strong bones and since very little of it is found in food, we rely on our body making Vitamin D when we are in the sun.  The solution to the deficiency is to try and get between 10-30 minutes in the sun most days without sun lotion if possible (can be done in little chunks of time) – a good article to read is by Dr Fatima from City Hospital in her article >> HERE  . As my numbers are consistently low I’ve also got Vitamin D supplements to take to try and get my numbers up quickly.

So there you have it, a fine balancing act – Wear Sunscreen to protect against BCC, but allow some time without sunscreen to keep Vitamin D levels in check.  The yin and yan of living here – two sides of the same coin – both with the word moderation somewhere along the middle.

In other health news, I’ve just had surgery for a deviated septum, the result of an old childhood injury (apparently girls are not a good substitute for wickets whilst playing cricket – I found this out the hard way – no, it’s not pleasant being hit in the face with a cricket bat!!).

The lesson learned here is that you should always get thoroughly checked out – a previous surgeon treated my constant sore throat and tonsillitis with a tonsillectomy this time last year – a horrible surgery and recovery to have as an adult.  Since having this the throat problems have continued and I’ve had many rounds of antibiotics and down time.

A random visit to a new surgeon meant that he started by examining my nose, he did some tests (CT Scan) and says that actually the deviated septum (misaligned cartilage) in my nose from the wicket incident were actually the Cause of the sore throats and Tonsillitis was the Symptom.  He says that bugs and bacteria being trapped in my misaligned nose was slowly dripping down my throat at night time meaning my body was always dealing with some bacteria in my throat – makes sense to me (sorry I hope you are not eating as you read this ?).

Though it’s early days, I’m only 2 weeks out of surgery – I think I agree – so far I am sore throat free.  Lesson learned, treat the cause and not the symptom and girls really should never try to be cricket wickets !!

Hopefully that’s the end of my health updates for this year.  Love, Live and Laugh

Recipe : Easy Veggies

I often find myself stood in front of the fridge, eyeing up the contents and then making something from the produce I have available to me.  Here’s a few things I’ve made recently :-

Spicy Ketchup 

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Glug of Olive Oil
  • 1 Celery Stick, roughly chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you like it spicy – I used 2)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (I used white and black pepper)
  •  sea salt
  • 200 ml cider vinegar
  • 100g soft brown sugar

Method

  1. Place all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a big splash of olive oil and the ginger, garlic, chilli, and coriander seeds . Season with the pepper and a good pinch of salt.
  2. Cook gently over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring every so often. Add all the tomatoes and 350ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half.
  3. Whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender and push it through a sieve twice, to make it smooth and shiny.
  4. Put the sauce into a clean pan and add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, correct the seasoning to taste.
  5. Spoon the ketchup through a sterilised funnel into sterilised bottles, then seal tightly and place in a cool dark place or the fridge until needed – it should keep for six months.

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver, ketchup recipe.

Roasted Veg Tray Bake

This is a great way of using up vegetables, served hot it’s a great side dish for many dishes.  It reheats well too and I confess to eating it cold as a side dish to.  The great thing about this dish is that every single time it is different as I base it on the contents of my fridge and change the spices and herbs used too.

Ingredients

Typically this dish would always contain :

  • Waxy small potatoes, cut into half
  • Onions – red or white – cut into wedges
  • Peppers – cut into large wedges
  • Carrots – sliced – approximately 2cms long
  • Tomatoes – quartered –  if you want a more saucy tray bake
  • Olive Oil
  • Selection f dried herbs and spices

Additional ingredients – depending on what’s in the fridge

  • Button Mushrooms
  • Butternut Squash – cut into chunks, skin on
  • Brocolli – florettes
  • Courgette – sliced into rings
  • Baby aubergine – sliced or halved depending on size
  • Leeks – chopped into chunks
  • Any other vegetables you can find

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180F
  2. Cut all of the hard vegetables into roughly the same size and place into a large deep roasting pan, add the tomatoes and onion wedges.
  3. Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with a selection of spices eg chilli, smoked paprika, black pepper, mixed dried herbs or even shop bought spice blends which are ready prepared.
  4. Generously drizzle the tray with olive oil – probably 3 or 4 tablespoons.
  5. Cover the tray with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes at 180F until the hard vegetables are virtually cooked (you should be able to run a sharp knife through the vegetables without any resistance)
  6. Turn the oven up to 200F.
  7. Add the soft vegetables and mix them with the hard vegetables and ensure they are moist with oil.
  8. Place tray back in over for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and browned and crispy in parts (I usually turn the vegetables half way through).

Potato Chips

This works well with all types of potatoes and/or carrots and other hard vegetables.  In this example I used purple blue potatoes from Lootah Premium Foods.

Ingredients :

  • Potatoes
  • Salt & Pepper & Spices to season
  • Olive Oil – in a spray container

Method

  1. Preheat over to 200F
  2. Thinly and evenly slice the potatoes – I used a mandolin
  3. Place the sliced vegetables on a shallow baking tray/sheet
  4. Sprinkle with spices and salt & pepper – I just used salt & pepper
  5. Coat with a fine spray of oil
  6. Bake in a hot oven for approx ten minutes until crisp
  7. Serve immediately (then make some more !!)

Spicy Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients :

  • Tomatoes – halved or quartered depending on size
  • Onions – sliced into thick slices (I used a banana shallot)
  • Chilli – sliced and deseeded and finely chopped
  • Olive Oil
  1. Pre-heat the oven to about 150F
  2. Place all of the ingredients in an aluminium container or small baking tin and coat liberally with olive oil.
  3. Place foil over the container and bake at a low heat for approximately 60 -80 minutes until the tomatoes are nice and soft.
  4. Turn up the heat of the oven to 180F and roast the tomatoes for approx 20 minutes until they are a little browned
  5. Serve hot or cold as a side dish

#BeachCanteen

HOT NEWS !! For the next 10 days – Dubai has a Beach Canteen !! and it’s coming to a beach close to you.  If you are looking for something a little different to do, then this is for you.Located at Jumeirah 1 Open Beach, Kite Beach (turn Right at SagaWorld) and Sunset Beach.

The beach canteen is a raised area on the beach where 18 different restaurants (operating from refurbished cargo containers) will be serving food including Emirati, Mexican, Egyptian, Italian, French, Japanese and International cuisines too.   The Beach Canteen is a place to hang out with friends, chill with the family and enjoy great food as part of the Dubai Food Festival.

As well as the food there will be music and entertainment and yoga.

Operating Dates : 27th February to 8th March from 12 noon til 11 pm.

One of my favourite new restaurants in Dubai are there too Seaview and I managed to catch a quick video of some Roomali making as chef entertained us with his skills.

I visited the Kite Beach Beach Canteen yesterday and here are some pics I clicked during a quick visit yesterday.  Enjoy.

Four Foodie Fridays – Week One

This is part 1 in a 4 part series – a review of 4 very different Foodie Fridays in Dubai.

We are spoilt for choice in Dubai.  So much to do, so much to see and of course, so many places to dine. And if you like food the choice can be immense and somewhat overwhelming.  But what we do have is variety.  Taking a look back at the last month proves just that, here goes :-

Friday – Week 1 A trip to the The Farmers Market on the Terrace 

A big part of my Friday morning routine, if at all possible, is a trip to The Farmers Market to stock up on locally grown organic produce, yes you heard that right – locally grown organic produce sold right here in Dubai !!.  The market is situated in the grounds of Emirates Towers on Friday morning and as well as providing an opportunity to purchase vegetables and other organic produce at reasonable prices, it’s a great opportunity to meet and chat to the farmers who produce the vegetables, catch up with fellow foodies, rub shoulders with some celebrity chefs (I’ve spotted and chatted to Silvena Rowe, Suzanna Husseini, Marta Yanci of Marta’s Kitchen and Chef Tomas Reger so far).

Apart from the shopping, I spend my time drinking great coffee from Coffee Planet and Boon Coffee (Ethopian Coffee by the lovely Orit who is going to open her first coffee shop in JLT anyway soon) as well as chatting to members of the Slow Food Community, sampling some amazing honey from Balqees Honey and always being tempted by a breakfast roll from Baker & Spice – my favourite is always the organic lamb with pickled egg and red cabbage – in fact it’s worth going just for that alone.

Having headed to the market early, I my visit with a trip to Dubai Mall for a browse in my favourite bookshop of all time  Kinokuniya followed by a movie at Reel Cinemas 

OR

I will go home with my produce and cook something using the vegetables I bought that day.  The beauty being that you never quite know what will be in season so you have to go with an open mind, try new produce and come home with an imagination.  And sometimes you don’t need an imagination as the vegetables speak for themselves.  The simple pleasure of eating a ripe organic tomato with a sprinkling of sea salt a good grind of black pepper and some honey balsamic vinegar from Crescendo with some locally produced Buratta from Italian Dairy Products in Sharjah is enough to put a smile on my face and make me happy.  It’s one of the fun parts of my friday mornings.

You can find the Farmers Market in the carpark behind Emirates Towers, it’s signed posted from the side.  It starts at 9 am and closes at 1 pm and will continue (weather permitting) until April/May.  Say hi if you see me there, it’s a friendly place to meander and spend an hour as well as to get some local organic shopping done at great prices.